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An Explorer’s Companion: On a Case of Infantile Psychosis

In this case study the author testifies about her encounter with an eleven year old boy who is resident in the treatment centre De Dauw. The crucial question is how to understand infantile psychosis. The author begins with difficulties experienced in the community and in individual psychotherapy. In order to bridge the gap between theory and practice, these difficulties will be explored and translated from within a psychoanalytic framework. The author considers the coming into being of the subject and the consequences in terms of drift and affect regulation, giving meaning and the relationship to the Other. Throughout the text, the author tries to shed light on the goal of treatment.

Symbol and metaphor

The symbolic dimension occupies a central position in the constitution of the subject and of the social field. It is argued that the function of the symbol and its effects on the psychical apparatus and on clinical practise are elucidated by psychoanalytic theory . The author starts with a discussion of the parallel Freud draws between psychogenesis and sociogenesis., The symbol is pivotal in these processes and is characterised by its ability (i) to generate sense and (ii) to connect subject and other (social bond). Both characteristics equally define metaphor. With reference to psychopathology, the function of both symbol and metaphor is highlighted in the process of the coming-into-being of the subject.

Kant’s Essay “Beantwortung der Frage: was ist Aufklärung?” in Light of Lacan’s Big Other

Where the Enlightenment has claimed the space to answer its own questions, something new appears. In the German Republic of Letters between 1780-1790 a strident movement of thought advanced towards the borders of a true critique of Enlightenment. Mendelssohn, Reinhold, Wieland, Herder, Lessing and Schiller were central figures in German philosophy, questioning the nature and practice of the Enlightenment through resolute reflection on its limits. Kant’s essay, Beantwortung der Frage: was ist Aufklärung?, follows in their footsteps but also breaks away from this path. He leads us away from the obligatory content towards the courageous form of enlightened thinking: sapere aude! Those who can find the strength to think for themselves can be free from a self-imposed state of immaturity. However, a Self-Thinker never thinks alone according to Kant. His Aufklärungessay as well as his Kritik der Urteilskraft make it clear that thinking and judging for yourself are dynamic activities that always take the place of the other into account. They are exercises in freedom and effort is required to measure the universality of one’s own language to that of the other. Making public use of Reason is Kant’s ideal. Reason’s activity is only possible through speech and language, in a praxis and culture, through difference and debate. From a Lacanian point of view this is the place of the big Other, a universal field of signifiers circulating within our lacks, illuminating something of the desire of a subject. In this article the author addresses Kant’s idea of Enlightenment by relating it to Lacan’s notions of the big Other and the coming into being of the subject, in relation to this Other.